School Closed Through April 30

On Thursday, April 2, Governor Reynolds ordered a shutdown of schools through April 30. She will reevaluate the state's COVID-19 status by April 16 and make a determination if schools will be closed for a longer period of time.

This means Van Meter School buildings and the playground are closed until April 30. All events and activities are canceled that were scheduled through April 30. We will make a determination on the possibility of rescheduling prom at a later time.

Guidance has been given from the IDPH and CDC that asks people to maintain social distancing practices through April 30. Please do your part to adhere to those recommendations from public health officials.

High School Class Meetings

Mr. Lamoureux will be having a class zoom meeting with all HS grade levels next week to discuss our plans moving forward. Please be sure to remind your students to attend. He will also have a senior parent zoom meeting to share our plans for graduation if we are unable to have the ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Calendar invites will be coming out. If you haven't received an invite by the end of the day today, please be sure to email him at adam.lamoureux@vmbulldogs.com

Continuous Learning

We are making a few changes to our plans due to the longer shutdown ordered by Governor Reynolds. Our online learning classes are now required for students in grades 9-12. Students are expected to meet the standards outlined for the course to receive full credit. Teachers are planning on using a P/F or Incomplete format for grading purposes. This change is being made to ensure the credit students would be earning for the course is as close to the normal level of standards met as possible.

If your child is taking an online DMACC course or a concurrent DMACC course through Van Meter, the work for those courses needs to be completed as if nothing has changed.

For students in grades K-8 the online learning supports are still strongly encouraged. The learning that takes place now for students in grades K-8 will better prepare them for their next grade level. We will continue to provide feedback to help students and parents know what standards students are meeting and which ones they need more time and support to meet.

So far, it seems to be going as well as it can during this unusual time. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we have received. No one knows how long exactly the shut down will last, but we are prepared to provide a high-quality education for our students online for as long as needed. We are going to continue to provide support for students to continue to learn during this school closure just as we have been doing. Building principals and teachers have sent out information to help describe what learning supports are available for students at all grade levels. Most of that information can be found on the Van Meter Website, but there is a lot of information teachers are sharing via email as well. Please remind students to be checking their emails throughout the day.

We are better positioned than most schools in providing the type of learning environment needed for kids to continue to learn during this time away from the building. It will be helpful in not only supporting students' growth and in meeting course and grade-level academic standards, but in keeping them connected with their classmates and teachers during this time of social distancing.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact your child's building principal at cody.tibbetts@vmbulldogs.com, adam.lamoureux@vmbulldogs.com or their teachers. If you have technology specific questions, contact Mr. Linde at mike.linde@vmbulldogs.com

Technology Support

We believe that most people who have needed a device have been able to make arrangements to get one. However, we ask that if you still need a device that you complete this survey. Mr. Linde or Mr. Tibbetts will contact you to make arrangements to get the device.

Grab and Go Lunch/Breakfast

Our lunch staff has been providing free lunches and breakfasts for any Van Meter student in grades TK-12. It has been very well received. We have increased from 31on the first day to averaging over 100 a day.

The pickup hours at the East Dining Hall will only be from 11:00-Noon instead of 1:00 p.m.

All you have to do is go to one of three locations to grab your lunch for the day and your breakfast for the next day. The Grab and Go bags will be available at:

  • Prairie Village from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The van will be located at the main entrance.
  • Crestview Estates from 11:35 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. at the corner of Bulldog and Long Avenues.
  • Bus pick up lane at the East Dining Hall of the Secondary Building from 11:00 a.m. to Noon p.m.

Please remind your kids to adhere to social distancing guidelines when picking up their lunches.

Email Barb Sandusky at barb.sandusky@vmbulldogs.com or me at deron.durflinger@vmbulldogs.com if you have any questions.

Mental Health Support

We know and understand that these are challenging times. Everyone's lives have been altered and it is challenging for all of us. If what is being asked of students is requiring too much time, let us know and we will find ways to provide more support or make adjustments to what we are asking kids to do. We just really want to put them in the best position to be successful academically, but we ultimately want to make sure our students are healthy.

Please reach out if your kids are struggling mentally. We have a great team of counselors and they would be glad to provide support if needed.

Jayci Kuhns- Social Worker, jayci.kuhns@vmbulldogs.com

Sara Cook- Elem. Counselor, sara.cook@vmbulldogs.com

Melanie Hopkins- Sec. Counselor, melanie.hopkins@vmbulldogs.com

COVID-19 FAQ(April 2, 2020)

Q: What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A: Families and community members can help by following these simple, easy steps that help prevent the spread of ALL contagious viruses, including COVID-19. Practice the same routine hygiene used to help prevent the cold and flu.

  • Regularly wash hands.
  • Stay home, especially when sick.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

Q: What types of activities are canceled outside of school?

A: VMCSD schools will be closed through Thursday, April 30. All activities scheduled during that time are postponed or canceled. Jr/Sr Prom may be rescheduled at a later date, but that won't be determined until later this spring.

Until we hear differently, we will resume activities as scheduled on May 1. However, we are preparing for a longer shutdown that could very well impact not only sports and activities but the graduation ceremony. Once we have more guidance, we will communicate our plans with you.

Given the severity of this situation, other events may be canceled at a later date. Here is the guidance from the IHSAA, IGHSAU, IHSSA, and IHSMA

Spring Activity Limitations

Q: What is VMCSD doing during the closure?

A: VMCSD administrators are collaborating with state education and health officials to make the best decisions for our students, families, and staff in the coming weeks. We are also working to communicate timely information to help ease stress and answer questions during this difficult time.

Q: What is VMCSD doing to clean buildings?

  • The buildings are being cleaned with a disinfectant that covers all surfaces.
  • Disinfected sections will be taped off to prevent individuals from entering cleaned areas. Some areas will be cleaned regularly if they are used by essential staff or contractors.
  • All activities and events have been canceled to prevent recontamination throughout buildings.

Q: Will students have to make up the school days missed during the closure?

A: Gov. Reynolds signed legislation waiving the instructional time requirement for school days missed through Friday, April 10. This means students will NOT need to make up any of the days missed between now and April 10. She also received the authority to extend the waiver, if needed.

Since the waiver was extended through April 30. Schools now are expected to provide continuous learning supports for students. If schools chose not to provide supports, the school hours from April 13 to April 30 would have to be made up. We are continuing to provide learning support, so we will not need to make up the missed class time. More information about continuous learning can be found in the following two links.

DE Guidance on March 27

DE Guidance on April 2

Q: What happens if school DOES NOT resume by April 30? Will this change how you determine graduation requirements or state requirements for students to move to the next grade level?

A: VMCSD is following the guidance of the IDOE. We are requiring HS students to complete courses to receive HS credit on a P/F grading system. We are strongly encouraging students in grades K-8 to continue working to meet standards outlined for their grade levels. More information about the courses can be found here.

It is important to take advantage of the online continuous learning opportunities that are being provided by the district. This will give students the best opportunity to meet the standards of their courses and grade levels if the shutdown is extended.

Q: What if I choose to keep my student home beyond April 30 and the school has resumed?

A: Families who choose to keep their students after school resumes should communicate directly with the school. Staff will work to provide resources just as they would if the student was absent for any other reason.

Q: Will staff or students be required to self-quarantine after April 30?

A: Local and state public health departments will determine if someone is at risk for coronavirus based on a list of criteria.

Q: What online/virtual learning options does VMCSD have available for students?

A: At this time online/virtual learning will be provided, but is not required for students K-8. It is required for students in grades 9-12. Access the remote learning site for more information.

Q: I want my children to have access to learning material so they don’t lose the momentum they’ve gained this year. What can I do?

A: VMCSD administrators and teachers have created a list of elementary and secondary online resources for students. These resources are available and students are encouraged to complete tasks provided by teachers.

Q: Will students still be required to take the annual statewide assessment (ISASP)?

A: We will not be taking any state or federally mandated assessments this school year. A waiver is being completed by the IDOE. More information can be found here.

Q: Can families get into schools to retrieve medicine, devices, books, etc.?

A: A scheduled pickup time of medicine was on Monday, March 23 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. If this date or times did not work for your family, please email your building principal. cody.tibbetts@vmbulldogs.com or adam.lamoureux@vmbulldogs.com

Q: What resources can families access for nutrition?

A: Starting Monday, March 23, the VMCSD Nutrition Services Department will provide free “grab-and-go” meals for children. Meals will be provided from 11:00 a.m. to Noon and can be grabbed at the East Dining Hall entrance and other locations identified above. Contact Barb Sandusky at barb.sandusky@vmbulldogs.com if you have questions.

Q: How do I talk to my children about COVID-19?

A: Below are listed some resources from the American School Counselor Association website www.schoolcounselor.org to help you and your student understand COVID-19 and discuss it together.

The Iowa Department of Education has an FAQ that is regularly updated. It is linked here.

COVID-19 Information

The primary goal of this communication and any future communication is to inform you our plans moving forward and to limit the spread of COVID-19.

We have a Crisis Response Plan in place for Van Meter Community School District. You can view the plan by clicking the link. We have followed the guidance of the Governor's Office to close school through Sunday, April 30. You can view the plan by clicking the link above.

Please be mindful and use best practices for remaining healthy and try to do all you can to prevent the spread of illness upon your return. Here is a link to CDC guidance to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Please know that we continue to monitor the situation by working closely with the Dallas County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. This is a very fluid situation and could change daily.

Stay informed and look for information on this virus and situation from reliable and trusted sources:

Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to maintain a healthy learning environment.

Athletic Website and Schedules